May Day 2013 - Metro



Published: May 6, 2012

Halifax – A group called Puppets Et Cetera! drew a curious crowd to watch a giant puppet parade and performance along the Halifax waterfront Saturday.

The puppet show aimed to draw attention to “unfair labour practices that are left under-addressed within the local food movement,” notably the use of migrant labourers, said a press release sent out by the group.

The issue of migrant labour on organic farms in Canada was recently profiled in This Magazine. Organizers of the puppet show say they support local, small-scale farming, but that this complex issue deserves attention.

The event was part of the Mayworks Halifax festival, a labour-organized event through which artists explore issues of social and economic justice.



Puppet Et Cetera go on parade for Mayworks festival, ethical food and ethical work

Published: May 4, 2012

Many people think of puppets as mute, but a new art collective believes these stickmen have a lot to say. “We’re all very inspired by finding more creative ways to speak out and have our voices heard, and I think the puppets really can do that in different ways,” says Puppets Et Cetera member Winnie Bower. The months-old puppet-making group might be familiar to you for its Peter Kelly effigy protest participant (and later reincarnation as Darrell Dexter). Puppets Et Cetera has since been working on new creations for the ongoing Mayworks festival. Its Puppets on Parade event seeks to illuminate the injustices of migrant labour and explore exactly what is meant by ethical food. “We’d like people to become aware of not only where their food comes [from], but also how it is produced and by whom,” says Bower. The parade will begin on the waterfront across the from the Historic Farmers’ Market and make its way to Bishop’s Landing, accompanied by the lively tunes of Samba Nova. Onlookers can expect circus acts and a concluding puppet performance as well.

Saturday May 5, waterfront across from the Historic Brewery Market, 1496 Lower Water Street, 10am-1pm, 492-4043


SOLIDARITY WITH TRANSIT WORKERS–transit-water-workers-rally-downtown

Transit, water workers rally downtown
About 80 people show ‘solidarity’ for striking transit workers, Halifax water employees MP Megan Leslie joins crowd to sing union chants

Published: February 13, 2012 12:14 a.m.
Last modified: February 13, 2012 12:16 a.m.

At eight feet tall, the effigy of Mayor Peter Kelly is hardly life-sized. But its creator, Sebastien Labelle, said it suits him perfectly.

Labelle, with the artists group Puppets Etc., said the behemoth made of papier mâché and cardboard was constructed as a generic politician puppet, but it has seen a lot of action lately as Kelly.

Labelle and friends used the puppet to put on a skit making fun of a council meeting during a union rally on the icy cold steps of Grand Parade on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a bit of farce, but it’s inspired by the farce that’s happening in council itself,” Labelle said. “It’s to help raise spirits, as well for those who have been on strike for a while now, and we know it’s a difficult thing, so sometimes a little laughter can help with morale.”

Several unions were represented at the titled “solidarity rally” for Halifax Water employees and the striking transit workers. Most prominent was the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508, which represents the transit employees, and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 227, representing Halifax Regional Water Commission workers.

“Rallies like this are important for two reasons: the media comes out and shows the public we’re still strong, and it also shows our members we’re still strong,” said Shane O’Leary, vice-president of ATU Local 508.

Transit workers and water workers aren’t “joining forces,” he added, but they are supporting each other.

“Their ambitions are different from ours and we can’t tie into them, but we do support them 100 per cent in their job action,” said O’Leary.

Richard Masters, vice-president of CUPE Local 227, said the 225 water workers can go on strike on 48 hours notice, but they’re not there yet.

“We’re still trying to talk to the employer and hoping they’ll see some reason and come back to the table,” Masters said. “We can’t wait forever. We’ve been without a contract since 2008.”–nothing-left-to-reach-out-to-union-head-of-strike-talks





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